The Reading Quest

There’s this Reading Challenge that has been popping up all over the internet called The Reading Quest hosted by Aentee from Read at Midnight. It’s a reading challenge where you have to choose a character class—Knight, Bard, Rogue, or Mage—and complete their path on the epic bingo board below (designs are by CW of Read, Think, Ponder). When I first saw this it instantly reminded me of a board game, but much better because it involves tackling my TBR list, which needs major help! #TheReadingQuest will start on August 13th and end on September 10th. Readers will try to complete the books on their path and other side quests in order to collect points and level up. If you’re feeling ambitious you can even tackle other quests after finishing your own. For more information, check out the Sign Up Post on Aentee’s blog!

I decided to pick the Mage character, because I’d definitely be able to wield magic if I could and the path includes a lot of books that I own since I’m a huge Fantasy fan. I’m starting out at Level 1 with 10 EXP & 10 HP. Hopefully I’ll be able to blow through my TBR, and gain points to level up quickly! I also included the Knight path below in case I decide to be overly ambitious.

MAGE: As wielders of spells and witchcraft, these players will conjure and summon their way through the First Down path on the quest. Their tomes contain magic and whispers of alternate lands. | Read At Midnight

MAGE QUEST

The First Book of a Series: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

A Book Set in a Different World: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

A Book Based on Mythology: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan OR The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

A Book That Contains Magic: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

A Book With A One Word Title: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Knight QUEST

The First Book of a Series: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

A Book With A Verb In Its Title: Looking for Alaska by John Green

A Book with a Weapon on Its Cover: TBD

A Book With a Red Cover: TBD

A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: Every Day by David Levithan

SIDE QUESTS

Potions (a book concocted by 2+) : TBD

Multiplayer (buddy read a book): TBD

Grind (a book with 500+ pages): Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Open World (read whatever you want): Eliza and her Monsters by Francesa Zappia

Time Warp (book set in either the past or the future): The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Expansion (read a companion novel or a short story): TBD

Animal Companion (book referencing an animal in the title): TBD

Are you going to join #TheReadingQuest?

THANKS FOR READING VIVALABOOKS!

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh | BOOK REVIEW

 RATING: DIDN’T LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS (3) // AMAZON

PAGES: 393 PAGES | PUBLISHER:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons

FORMAT: hardcover | SOURCE: hardcover | AGE GROUP: YOUNG ADULT

GOODREADS SUMMARY

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

book 2 book 2 book 2

Cover ThoughtsI love looking at a cover after reading the book and finding hidden symbolism I wouldn’t have noticed before. I believe that the bird on the cover is a phoenix, which is the traitor shogun’s crest. Also the throwing stars play an interesting part in the book. I like the mash up of purple and orange, which unexpectedly complement each other. Also I love how the silver lettering looks like knives and swords.
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I had SO MUCH hope for Flame in the Mist. This was a book that I spent hours researching and reading about, especially when I shouldn’t have, like during finals (whoops). It was supposed to be a mash up of Mulan and 47 Ronin, which sounds absolutely epic. Everyone was raving about it, including multiple bloggers I trust. Renee Ahdieh wrote it, whose work, The Wrath and the Dawn, I previously enjoyed. I mean, the book is set in feudal Japan! There aren’t many YA books that feature Asian main characters, much less Asian settings, so I was looking forward to the diversity offered in this book. Flame in the Mist had all the ingredients to be a recipe for success, but I over-hyped it in my mind and it sadly did not live up to my very high expectations.

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the book. It was an alright read, but there just seemed to be something lacking. My main issue with Flame in the Mist was the hype surrounding the book that led to my exaggerated expectations. First off, I don’t believe the book should be compared to Mulan. Yes, there is cross-dressing in the book, but that’s where I believe the similarities end. Mulan took place in China and Flame in the Mist is set in Japan, and the storylines are completely different. I agree that the story could have been inspired by Mulan, but I believe comparing it to Mulan might lead to unrealistic expectations.

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READING SLUMP | HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

Head in the Clouds is a feature on Vivalabooks where I discuss my thoughts on certain bookish topics. Today we’re going to talk about… READING SLUMPS!

We all know about the dreaded reading slumps. We all fear them. We try to avoid them as much as possible. But it happens to the best of us. And I fell into one of the worsts reading slumps in my life during June and July.

It started with the lack of reading throughout the school year because it was my first year in college and I had trouble making time for school and lacrosse and my friends. Most of the time when I wanted to relax I opted to watch Netflix or take a nap because I was that tired or my eyes were dead from studying. When I got home I was ecstatic to finally be able to have time to read again, and hit up Half Price Books to get some recent releases I couldn’t wait for. Unfortunately I got caught up in the hype of a book, and it fell short of my expectations. I was expecting an amazing read that would blow me off my feet, but I felt off-put by the ending and was left feeling unsatisfied. It was an alright read, but I had been expecting more, wanting more.

It was beyond disappointing for the first book I picked up from my year-long hiatus to have been such a bust. I had such high expectations and they were not met. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the book was necessarily bad, but it was missing an important wow factor. It had been so hyped up by others and in my mind that it ended up falling short of the vision in my mind. This unfortunate turn of events led to my massive reading slump.

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AUGUST 2017 BULLET JOURNAL SETUP | PLAN WITH ME

Hi, it’s been a while, but I thought I’d jump back in with a Plan With Me post. I started bullet journaling about a year ago, and I’ve recently been having more fun with my layouts. Overall this month’s layout took me about 2.5-3 hours, which seems daunting but I like to plan while watching TV. (This means that I could have finished my layouts much quicker if I didn’t have a distraction.) Also this layout took me a bit longer than most, since I added a lot more doodles than I usually do. I’m really happy without how my August layouts turned out, so I hope y’all enjoy!

For August I decided to go with a cactus theme, which was inspired by In Liquid Color and Ann Le. I had some trouble figuring out what to do for this month’s theme, but I stumbled upon In Liquid Color‘s YouTube video and loved the idea for August. If you’re ever stumped on a month’s theme, I’d recommend searching “plan with me *insert month*” in YouTube.

This is my August cover page, which was inspired by In Liquid Color.

This is my monthly habit tracker. I like the idea behind having a monthly habit tracker, but I’ve had trouble in the past consistently filling it out. I’m going to try it again, hopefully filling it out before I go to sleep. Although I’m not the best at keeping track of my habits, I had a lot of fun with this particular page due to all the little doodles. I didn’t realize there were so many different ways to draw cacti!

 

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Recent Releases I’m Excited To Read

While I’ve been at school, it’s been difficult to find time to read, so I’m very behind on the new releases even though I’ve been dying to get my hands on some of them. Since I haven’t been keeping up with the publishing world, I thought it’d be fun to share a list of some of the recent releases I’m excited to get my hands on!

I received this book in the March OwlCrate, so I’m definitely going to pick it up since I already own a copy. Plus, I’m in the mood for something different, like a pirate book, especially since there’s a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie!

I was a big fan of A Study in Charlotte, so I cannot wait to finally read the sequel. I need more Watson & Holmes in my life! Plus I seriously need to get my hands on hard copies of these books, because those covers.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, and I started it in the beginning of the 2nd semester. I’m interested in continuing this story since the premise was very intriguing and I haven’t read a book about necromancy in a long time.

As an Asian, I’m always excited to read about books set in countries in Asia. I’ve never been to Japan, even though I desperately want to visit, but I’m fascinated by the country and its culture. This one sounds like a cute love story in a really cool setting!

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June 2017 Bullet Journal Setup | Plan With Me

Hi, welcome to a new feature on the blog! I started bullet journaling about a year ago, and I love it so much. It’s a fun way for me to plan out my days, and I love how customizable it is. The process is relaxing and it lets me still be a bit artsy, which I love. I’m in no way an expert, and I’m still learning new tips and tricks. But I thought it’d be fun to share my layouts!

 

This month I decided to go with a beach & wave theme, since it’s finally SUMMER! This is my June cover page, and the waves were inspired by AmandaRachLee. Even though the waves didn’t exactly turn out how I expected, I ended up liking the geometric twist I had accidentally added. Blue is my favorite color, so it was fun getting to mix & match different shades of blue in the waves. I wanted to give it a bit more of a beach vibe, so I used a peach colored marker to make some sand.

 

This is my monthly habit tracker. I didn’t have one during the school year, but I wanted to start using one again for the summer. I think it’ll help me make the most of the summer by keeping me accountable! I like to track health habits, like my sleeping patterns or if I eat vegetables or no sweets. This month I’m going to be taking a summer course, so I decided to track my studying. Also I’m tracking my blogging and reading habits.

This is my June monthly spread. (Inspired by bluelahe.) I used to do both a vertical month-at-a-glance spread and a calendar spread, but I found the calendar spread to be more effective for myself. This month I added the future log, so I can keep track of things I have planned for next month.

This spread is more boring, so I might add some color to it later. I wanted to create a space for books I wanted to read in June, and I love the idea of a monthly memories spread. I did one last summer, and it was so much fun to look back at all things I had done over the month. Also I decided to start a gratitude page again. We have so much to be thankful for, but we take so much for granted. I like how this page reminds me to be thankful for even the smallest of things.

This is my first weekly spread for June, and I’m really excited about it. (Inspired by studykouffee.) I usually go for a more simplistic layout and keep it black & white, but I wanted to experiment and have some fun with this spread. I decided to stick with blue tones for the waves theme, and I added some quotes for fun.

If you’re interested in starting your own bullet journal check out this blog post by twirling pages. You can also find more information on the bullet journal website.

Some blogs you should check out:

Instagram Pages:

Youtube Channels:

Do you bullet journal?

would you want to try to bullet journal?

link up your bullet journal posts!

THANKS FOR READING VIVALABOOKS!

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Nemesis By Anna Banks | Book Review

 RATING: Better than expected (3.5) // AMAZON

PAGES: 367 PAGES | PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends

FORMAT: ebook | SOURCE: netgalley AGE GROUP: YOUNG ADULT

29770764GOODREADS SUMMARY

The princess didn’t expect to fall in love–with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora’s gift could save Tarik’s kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

3.5 book 2 book 2 book 2 book 2

*review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Cover ThoughtsI’m not the biggest fan of covers with faces on them, but I found this one drew me in immediately. I think it might have been the silver paint covering her whole body and the intricate tattoos. Going into Nemesis, I didn’t realize it drew from Egyptian culture, but the cover makes a lot more sense after that realization.
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I loved Anna Banks’s The Syrena Legacy series. Not only was I fascinated by the mythology behind her story, but I had such a great time with her witty characters. Although I read the synopsis before I began Nemesis, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I found the beginning to be a bit slow, but I was completely engrossed into the story by the end and I cannot wait for book 2.

Nemesis follows Princess Sepora, who is the Last Forger in all 5 kingdoms. This means Sepora can create spectorium, which is used as an energy source in this world, but the existence of Forgers is guarded in secrecy. After Sepora learns of her father’s sinister plans involving her power, she runs away to the neighboring kingdom Theoria, a desert land with advanced technology. A few unfortunate incidents and a bit of luck later, Sepora finds herself sold into Theoria’s Falcon King’s harem, leading to an unexpected friendship.

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I’m Back for the Summer!

Soooo… Throwback to April when I posted about my blogging hiatus due to my overly hectic schedule of juggling classes with lacrosse season. Unfortunately I had to pour all my energy into school and lacrosse to just stay afloat meaning there was zero time for reading much less blogging. But I somehow managed to survive my first year of college, and I’m back at home!

I’ve decided to give myself a bit of a break this summer. I hadn’t been back home since January due to lacrosse, so I’m beyond ecstatic to be home! My summer is going to be pretty chill, and I can’t wait to catch up with all the good books that have been coming out. I’m going to be taking a summer course, playing and training for lacrosse, and working a summer job. This means I’ll definitely have time for books! YAY! 🙂

This year was my first year of college, so it was definitely an adjustment year. I was learning how to navigate college, and how to manage academics and athletics. There were a lot of ups and downs (mostly ups!), and I learned a lot this year. I’m unbelievably lucky to be able to go to such an amazing college where I’ve been able to meet such incredible, fascinating people.

Reading and blogging have been dear to my heart since I started back in 2012. It’s crazy to think that I keep coming back to this blog, even after I’ve begrudgingly let it gather up dust every once in a while. Life can become chaotic and it’s always been hard to prioritize reading and blogging when there are so many other things that need to come first, like school and lacrosse. It’s been hard to find a balance that works, and to be perfectly honest I haven’t quite found it yet. Also it can sometimes be hard to pick up a book when in the back of my head I have to think about how I’m going to write a review on it. I love the escape of reading a book, and I cannot wait to be able to experience that feeling of opening a new book this summer. My goal for the summer is to just start reading for fun again, and see where that takes this blog. I think I won’t just be solely focusing on books and I might introduce some bullet journaling posts (which I’ve been recently been obsessed with). I’ve missed reading so much, and it always makes me sad when I don’t have enough time for reading during the school year. But summer is always my best time for reading and I’m excited for some new posts I have planned. Thanks for sticking with me and let’s have an awesome summer!

What are your summer plans?

ANY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS?

THANKS FOR READING VIVALABOOKS!

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Blogging Hiatus & Catch Up

Hi y’all!

I’m sorry I’ve been so silent on the blog lately. Things got very hectic very fast and I had to focus on my school work. Literally the past few months I’ve only been studying, practicing lacrosse, and sleeping. Unfortunately I’ve had zero time to read, and when I did have free time it usually resulted in a nap.

I’m more busy than usual since it’s lacrosse season *yay!* and I had a ton of projects & midterms. Luckily this past week was spring break, and I welcomed the much needed break. My lacrosse team and I traveled to California, which was a beautiful change of scenery from the usual cold, for spring break. I actually got back yesterday, and it’s already snowing in Providence. *sigh* You will be greatly missed sun!

 

California was an amazing experience! I had so much fun with the girls on my team, and we got to enjoy beautiful weather. I never realized how much I missed the sun until I got off the plane and felt the sun on my skin again. It was honestly bliss! And it was wonderful not practicing in full under armour for once.  Not only did we get to relax on the beach one day, but I was able to get in some much-needed reading time during this trip.

I underestimated my workload coupled with lacrosse season and was overly ambitious in February, but I hope to continue posting a few times a month. By making more realistic goals, I’m hoping to motivate myself to post more while still managing the other parts of my life. While I won’t be very active, I’ll still be posting every once in a while! And I hope you’ll check in when I do! 🙂

HOw do you manage blogging with work?

how was your spring break?

any book recommendations?

THANKS FOR READING VIVALABOOKS!

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February 2017 OwlCrate Unboxing

owl-crate-unboxing

Hi y’all!

Instead of sending me a care package every month, my mom decided to sign me up for an OwlCrate subscription.  I had always wanted to sign up for one, so I was unbelievably excited when my mom surprised me. It’s a great way for me to get a book in college, and it’s always exciting to get mail. Hope you enjoy this February Unboxing!

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BOOK OF THE MONTH : Caraval by stephanie Garber

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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